Austin Chemical Peels

Whether your skin is a little dull or dry or you need intensive treatment to remove wrinkles and discoloration, Austin Face & Body has the perfect chemical peel for you. We will address all of your skin care concerns with our highly effective Austin chemical peels. if you’re looking for a fantastic way to enhance your skin and get a healthy glow, a chemical peel is what you’re looking for. 

What is a chemical peel?

A chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It’s very helpful for individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles, and uneven skin pigmentation. Phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are used for this purpose. The precise formula of a chemical peel may be adjusted to meet each patient’s needs. Our Austin chemical peels are safe for all skin types, and achieve incredible results. 

How do chemical peels work?

Chemical peels have been used for decades to revitalize and resurface skin. The treatment involves applying a chemical solution to remove the damaged outer layers of skin and reveal smoother, softer, clearer, more radiant skin.

Peels are traditionally performed on the face, hands, neck, back, shoulders, legs, and other problem areas to treat fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and skin discoloration. At Austin Face & Body, we will determine the exact program for your trouble spots and skin type. Generally, a series of six treatments are required for optimum results, spaced three to four weeks apart.

Who gets Austin chemical peels?

A chemical peel is typically performed for cosmetic reasons, to enhance your appearance and self-confidence. The procedure can soften acne scars, and also help control acne. Chemical peels may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths. In certain cases, health insurance may cover the procedure, so be sure to check your policy and contact your insurance company before getting a chemical peel.

Our Austin chemical peels can improve the appearance of:

  • Fine lines
  • Skin discoloration
  • Age/sun spots
  • Enlarged pores
  • Light sun damage
  • Light freckling
  • Minimal scarring

Types of chemical peels

All about AHAs, TCA, and phenol peels

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)

AHAs such as glycolic, lactic, or fruit acids are the mildest of the peel formulas, and produce light peels. These types of peels can provide smoother, brighter-looking skin for people who can’t spare the time to recover from a phenol or TCA peel. AHA peels may be used to treat fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation, and acne.

Various concentrations of an AHA may be applied weekly or at longer intervals to obtain the best result. An alpha hydroxy acid such as glycolic acid can also be mixed with a facial wash or cream in lesser concentrations as part of a daily skincare regimen to improve the skin’s texture.

AHA peels may cause stinging, redness, irritation, and crusting. However, as the skin adjusts to the treatment regimen, these problems will subside.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs):

  • Smooths rough, dry skin
  • Improves texture of sun damaged skin
  • Aids in control of acne
  • Can correct pigment problems
  • Can be used as TCA pre-treatment


  • A series of peels may be needed
  • As with most peel treatments, sunblock use is recommended

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) 

TCA can be used in many concentrations, but it’s most commonly used for medium-depth peeling. Fine surface wrinkles, superficial blemishes, and pigment problems are commonly treated with TCA. The results of TCA peel are usually less dramatic than (and not as long-lasting as) those of a phenol peel. In fact, more than one TCA peel may be needed to achieve the desired result. The recovery from a TCA peel is usually shorter than with a phenol peel.

With a TCA peel, your healed skin will be able to produce pigment as always—the peel will not bleach the skin. However, TCA peel patients are advised to avoid sun exposure for several months after treatment to protect the newly-formed layers of skin. Even though TCA is milder than phenol, it may also produce some unintended color changes in the skin. 

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA):

  • Smooths out fine surface wrinkles
  • Removes superficial blemishes
  • Corrects pigment problems


  • Can be used on neck or other body areas
  • May require pre-treatment with Retin-A or AHA creams
  • Treatment takes only 10 to 15 minutes
  • Preferred for darker-skinned patients
  • Peel depth can be adjusted
  • Repeat treatment may be needed to maintain results
  • Sunblock must be used for several months
  • Healing is usually quick (much quicker than a phenol peel)


Phenol is the strongest of the chemical solutions, and produces a deep peel. It’s used mainly to treat patients with coarse facial wrinkles, areas of blotchy or damaged skin caused by sun exposure, or pre-cancerous growths. Since phenol sometimes lightens the treated areas, your skin pigmentation may be a determining factor as to whether or not this is an appropriate treatment for you. Phenol is primarily used on the face. Scarring may result if it’s applied to the neck or other body areas.

Phenol may pose a unique risk for patients with a history of heart disease. It’s important that you make your surgeon or aesthetic nurse aware of any heart problems when your medical history is taken. It is also possible that phenol will cause some undesired cosmetic results, such as uneven pigment changes. Certain modified phenol peels are gentler and may be preferred in some circumstances.

With a phenol peel, the new skin frequently loses its ability to make pigment (that is, tan). This means that not only will the skin be lighter in color, but you’ll always have to protect it from the sun.


  • Smooths out coarse wrinkles
  • Removes pre-cancerous growths
  • Corrects blotches caused by sun exposure, birth control pills, and aging


  • Used only on the face
  • Not recommended for dark-skinned individuals
  • May pose risk for patients with heart problems
  • Full-face treatment may take one hour or more
  • Recovery may be slow (may take several months)
  • May permanently remove facial freckles
  • Sun protection, including sunblock, must always be used
  • Results are dramatic and long-lasting
  • Permanent skin lightening and lines of demarcation may occur

Your new look 

Improvements from AHA peels may be very subtle at first. You may detect a healthier glow to your skin. With continued treatments, you will notice a general improvement in the texture of your skin. The results of a TCA peel are usually not as long-lasting as those of phenol peel. 

However, your skin will be noticeably smoother and fresher-looking. If you’re planning a phenol peel, you can expect dramatic improvement in the surface of your skin: fewer fine wrinkles, fewer blemishes, and more even-toned skin. Your results will be long-lasting, although not immune to the effects of aging and sun exposure.

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Chemical peel risks

All chemical peels carry some uncertainty and risk. Unpredictability and risks such as infection and scarring, while rare, are a possibility. 

Your consultation

During your initial consultation with us, we will go over everything you will need to know about your Austin chemical peel. It’s important that you discuss your precise expectations. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions or express any concerns that you may have. We will explain the planned procedure in detail, including its risks and benefits, the recovery period, and costs. If you have a history of herpes, you should inform your physician prior to the procedure. Remember, chemical peel treatments are usually not covered by medical insurance unless they are performed for medically-related problems. Please be aware that although a chemical peel may be performed in conjunction with a facelift, it is not a substitute for one—nor will it prevent or slow the aging process.


Do not get any kind of facial treatment for one week before your Austin chemical peel. Those who are considering a chemical peel should be aware that you may have to spend a month or more in the pre-treatment phase before we schedule your actual peel. Do not exfoliate before your chemical peel or use Retin-A unless we advise you to. In turn, we may use Retin-A on you to pre-treat the skin. This thins out the skin’s surface layer, allowing the TCA solution to penetrate more deeply and evenly. If your skin won’t tolerate Retin-A pre-treatment, an AHA cream may be used instead. Hydroquinone, a bleaching agent, is sometimes used in conjunction with Retin-A or AHA pre-treatment, especially if you have blotchy skin areas or pigmentation problems.


Our chemical peels are safely performed at Austin Face & Body. 

AHA chemical peels: No anesthesia is needed for AHA peels since they cause only a slight stinging sensation during application. The AHA solution will be applied to your cleansed facial skin, a process that usually takes about ten minutes.

Phenol and TCA peels: Anesthesia is not required for phenol or TCA peels because the chemical solution itself acts as an anesthetic—however, sedation may be used before and during the procedure to relax you and keep you comfortable. The skin will be thoroughly cleansed, then, the surgeon or aesthetic nurse will carefully apply the phenol or TCA solution. You may feel a stinging sensation as the peel solution is applied, but this feeling will quickly pass. A full-face TCA peel usually takes no more than fifteen minutes.

Two or more TCA peels may be needed to obtain the desired result, and those may be spaced out over several months. Mild TCA peels may be repeated as often as every month. If phenol solution has been used, the treated area may be coated with petroleum jelly or a waterproof adhesive tape.

With lighter peels, no covering is necessary. A full-face phenol peel generally takes one or two hours to perform, while a phenol peel to a smaller facial region (perhaps the skin above the upper lip) may take only 10 or 15 minutes. A single treatment usually suffices.

After your Austin chemical peel

Immediately after the peel, your skin will be light yellow. This is temporary and will fade in one to two hours. We recommend that all patients who undergo a chemical peel purchase a post-peel treatment kit. You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home after your treatment and help you out for a day or two if you’re having a phenol or deeper TCA peel. You probably won’t need any extra assistance if you’re having an AHA peel or superficial TCA peel. 

  • Patients with hypersensitivity to the sun should take extra precautions to guard against exposure immediately following the procedure. They may be more sensitive to the sun afterward.
  • Your skin may be more red than usual for two to three days.
  • Please avoid strenuous exercise during this time.
  • Approximately 48 hours after the treatment, your skin will start to peel. This peeling will generally last two to three days.
  • It is very important that patients do not pick or pull at the skin. When washing your face, do not scrub.
  • Apply light moisturizer as often as needed to relieve dryness and tightness.
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or above and avoid direct sunlight for at least one week.
  • Do not have any other facial treatment for at least one week after your peel.
  • You may resume the regular use of Retin-A, alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) products, or bleaching creams only after the peeling process is complete.


AHA chemical peels: After an AHA peel, it’s common to experience some temporary flaking or scaling, redness, and dryness of the skin. However, these conditions will disappear as the skin adjusts to treatment. Depending on the strength of the peel, periodic treatments may be necessary until the desired effects are achieved. For some patients, the application of an AHA-based face wash or cream once or twice a day at home will be sufficient to accomplish the desired goal. Your surgeon or aesthetic nurse may add Retin-A or a bleaching agent to your at-home treatment schedule. After several weeks of at-home use, your skin will be examined to determine if your regimen needs adjustment.

Phenol and TCA peels: After a phenol or TCA peel, your surgeon or aesthetic nurse may prescribe a mild pain medication to relieve any tingling or throbbing. If tape was used to cover your face, it will be removed after a day or two. A crust or scab will form on the treated area. To help your face heal properly, it’s essential that you follow the specific post-operative instructions you were given. A TCA peel may also cause significant swelling, depending on the strength of the peel used. If you’ve had a phenol peel, your face may become quite swollen. Your eyes may even be swollen shut temporarily. You will need someone to help care for you for a day or two. You may also be limited to a liquid diet and advised not to talk very much during the first few days of recovery.

Life after an Austin chemical peel

With an AHA peel, the temporary redness, flaking, and dryness that you experience will not prevent you from working or engaging in your normal activities. A fresher and improved skin texture will result with continued AHA treatments. Remember, protecting your skin from the sun is also important following these mild acid peels. Ask us about recommendations for a sunblock with adequate UVA and UVB protection and use it every day.

With a TCA peel, the moderate discomfort and mild swelling you may experience will subside within the first week. In about a week to ten days, your new skin will be apparent and you should be healed sufficiently to return to your normal activities. It is best to avoid sun exposure unless you are adequately protected.

With a phenol peel, new skin will begin to form in about seven to ten days. Your face will be very red at first, gradually fading to a pinkish color over the following weeks to months. During this time, it is especially important that you use a sunblock or blotchy, irregular skin coloring may result. About two weeks after treatment, you may return to work and resume some of your normal activities. Your skin will be healed enough for you to wear makeup. For makeup tips, ask us for the ASPS brochure on camouflage cosmetics.

Schedule a consultation with us

If you’re interested in learning more about our Austin chemical peels, please contact us. Austin Face & Body is an aesthetic plastic surgery practice where skincare is one of our areas of expertise. We bring together top surgeons and innovators from all over the country to provide the highest level of patient care. You will receive warm and professional service, attention to detail, outstanding communication, and incredible results. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call 512-559-3544 or contact us online

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